Oyster Card survey shows heavy interest in cutting coverage or raising prices

During the week I got an email in my inbox asking me to take part in a survey on behalf of the Passenger Demand Forecasting Council (“a body consisting of Transport for London and other industry bodies”) about the future of the Oyster touch in/touch out travel card used in London.

The email went a little overboard in emphasising that the survey was just about finding out people’s attitudes and possible future behaviour and that there are no current plans etc etc. To which my obvious response was to wonder why they would be so keen to say this…

And looking through the survey you can see why. Because the questions about the impact of possible future changes were about making Oyster either less widely usable or more expensive. So of course it could well be true that there are no precise plans for restricting Oyster or raising its prices at the moment, but it’s still a pretty pointed choice to be only┬áresearching those options – and not, for example, to be asking if I would make more use of other transport options if Oyster started applying to them (e.g. if it started being usable to pay at certain car parks) or if it became generally a more useful card by being usable in shops.

Overall the survey was rather amateurish in its execution (or perhaps the compiler had an unfortunate experience with an apostrophe early in life and so now is allergic to using them?), with a love of the gratuitous acronym and plenty of jargon thrown around in the way that really good survey setters avoid in surveys aimed at the general public.

So at best I’m unimpressed at the low-quality of the survey and at worst I fear the questions in it reveal rather more than the survey setters intended, disclaimer notwithstanding.


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